- 医療薬学 (ISSN:1346342X)
- vol.43, no.6, pp.344-350, 2017-06-10 (Released:2018-06-10)
Pharmacists are expected to help reduce increasing healthcare costs. This study assessed the effects of pharmacists at community pharmacies checking for unused prescribed medications using a bag in which patients put medications (Setsuyaku Bag). We examined whether this check improved medication adherence and also measured the costs of the unused medications.Patients aged ≥ 20 years who brought the bag to community pharmacies were followed-up for 6 months. They took the bag to pharmacies if they had unused medications including those recently prescribed. Medication adherence scores at the first visit and after 6 months were assessed by patients (good 0–bad 4) and by pharmacists (good 1–bad 4). Changes in scores were analyzed using paired t-tests. Costs of unused medications were calculated, grouped as reused, saved, or discarded.The patient adherence score for 73 patients (mean age 71.3 years) decreased from a mean of 1.8, SE 0.1 at the first visit to 0.8, 0.1 at the 6-month visit (P < 0.001). The pharmacist adherence score also decreased over this period from a mean of 2.4, SE 0.1 to 1.5, 0.8 (P < 0.001). The mean cost of total unused medications during the 6-month per person was 9,962 yen: reused 6,523 yen (65.5%), saved 1,506 yen (15.1%), and discarded 1,933 yen (19.4%).Pharmacists' checkup for unused medications using a Setsuyaku Bag was likely to be effective for improving medication adherence, indicating that pharmacists can contribute indirectly to reducing healthcare costs through medication adherence and directly by lowering medication costs.